Hells Canyon Complex Fisheries Resource Management Plan

USRT’s April 27, 2018 Hells Canyon Complex Fish Management Program (HCC FRMP) seeks to restore fishing opportunities through anadromous and resident fish management programs in the Snake River and in significant tributaries; including the Bruneau/Jarbidge, Owyhee, Malheur, Boise, Payette, and Weiser Rivers. The overall intent of the Program is to begin reestablishing anadromous fish and fisheries in the Snake River and using unlisted fish (Endangered Species Act) in select tributaries upstream of the HCC.

Full plan available here: USRT’s Proposed Fisheries Resource Management Program, April 2018

Goals of the Program are to:

  1. Re-establish anadromous fisheries on unlisted, hatchery origin spring/summer/fall Chinook salmon and/or steelhead in select tributaries to provide subsistence, cultural, and recreational harvest opportunities.
    1. Re-establish anadromous fisheries for subsistence and tribal ceremonial harvest upstream of HCC.
    2. Support establishing recreational anadromous fisheries in targeted tributaries upstream of HCC.
    3. Establish sufficient hatchery production to support outplanting programs for tribal subsistence and recreational fisheries upstream of HCC.


  1. Restore naturally reproducing unlisted populations of salmon and steelhead within select tributaries upstream of HCC to meet harvest, cultural, and ecological needs.
    1. Meet fish and wildlife manager goals for establishing naturally reproducing populations of anadromous fish in select tributaries.
    2. Develop and implement adaptive management plans to restore spring Chinook and steelhead to additional tributaries entering the Program area.
    3. Develop and implement adaptive management plans to restore spring Chinook and steelhead to additional tributaries upstream of the HCC.
    4. Assess production potential and feasibility for re-establishing sockeye and coho salmon in tributaries upstream of HCC.


  1. Restore fall Chinook salmon in the mainstem Snake River (as a long term goal – likely 20-30 years after license issuance), dependent, in part, upon restoration of mainstem habitat (i.e., mainstem water quality improvements) and effectiveness of mainstem collection measures.
    1. Restore historically productive habitat in the Marsing Reach of the Snake River to support the future restoration of a second Snake River fall Chinook population.
    2. Develop and implement adaptive management plans to restore Snake River fall Chinook into the Marsing Reach (HUC 17050103) of the mainstem Snake River upstream of Brownlee Dam.
    3. Develop and implement contingency adaptive management plans to restore Snake River fall Chinook in the Swan Falls to C.J. Strike, or C.J. Strike to Bliss reaches (HUC 17050101) in the event that habitat restoration in the Marsing Reach fails to restore suitable conditions or collection and transportation actions are unsuccessful.


The components of the Program are developed to illustrate the considerations that will be necessary for any proposed program above the HCC. Development of the Program is based on three components for treatment watersheds:

  1. Conservation Component: Contribute, over the life of the license with the appropriate agreements and metrics, to the recovery of anadromous and resident fish populations in the treatment watersheds. This includes a restoration of the ecological processes related to the presence of anadromous and resident fish in the treatment watersheds.
  2. Harvest Component: Achieve an equitable harvest framework for all treatment watersheds to mitigate for lost harvest opportunities related to the HCC.
  3. Cultural Component: Ensure that tribal and state-licensed anglers can harvest anadromous and resident fish in the treatment watersheds by their traditional hunting methods, as well as contemporary methods.


The purpose of this preliminary proposal for the Program is to:

  • Outline the general goals, objectives, and management framework for reestablishment of anadromous fish upstream of the HCC;
  • Present a process and coarse timeline for integrating anadromous fish measures into a comprehensive settlement agreement; and
  • Present a process for integrating proposed and ongoing resident fish programs into this proposal.

The intent is to continue and develop management actions for species such as bull trout, Pacific lamprey, redband trout, and white sturgeon; as well as understanding how key issues related to anadromous upstream passage may affect resident fish. This proposal is not intended to provide the specific details required for full implementation of the Program.

The Program will pursue, promote, and initiate efforts to restore the Snake River system and component resources to conditions that closely represent the ecological features of the natural riverine ecosystem. This includes a restoration of the native assemblages of species in the subject tributaries above the HCC.